Sunday, April 29, 2018

Orthos and Arthros

Bad news about my knee, friends.

Xray of my knee
Bad knee! Bad!

I got the results from my knee MRI a couple of weeks ago. I had waited a couple of days for my orthopedist to call me and when he didn't, I called to find out if they had my results and the receptionist told me that I had to make an appointment for that.

I told them that I wasn't going to do that because I didn't have a good experience with the doctor, so I would just take the MRI elsewhere. Now, it is at this point that I would imagine the receptionist would say, "Oh no, what was the problem? Maybe we can make it better," but that did not happen. Instead she said she'd have the doctor call with the results. And then instead, a non-doctor called me back to tell me I had a bone contusion and medial meniscus tear.

Evidently they didn't care why I'd had a bad experience or they just didn't care period. Cool.

My next step was to find a new orthopedist who could tell me what to do. (Well, actually my next step was to google the hell out of "medial meniscus tear" and discover that sometimes it needs surgery and sometimes it doesn't.) I'd gotten a recommendation from a friend for a new ortho, so I made an appointment for the following Tuesday and then went on a short run to see how it felt on the knee.

I was able to run and after a month without it, running felt amazing. Unfortunately, my knee felt significantly worse afterward AND I pretty severely strained my foot/ankle by compensating for the knee (or at least that's what my new orthopod suspects).

My appointment was last week. I made the appointment for 9:30 on a Tuesday and made a note to myself that I had to get there early to fill out forms. By Tuesday, I'd convinced myself that my appointment was a 10 and that I was supposed to get there at 9:30 with pen and insurance card in hand to be a good patient.

That's why I rolled into the ortho office at 9:32 on Tuesday, signed in, and was feeling pretty good about my ability to handle change.

Then the receptionist called me to the desk and told me the doctor I'd signed in for wasn't at that practice and that I was in the wrong place. Somehow I had managed to deliver myself to an entirely different orthopedic practice with which I had no affiliation whatsoever.

Good job, Jean. Never change anything ever again.

I hadn't put the correct ortho in my phone yet because I didn't know if I'd like him, so I had to search him up on the internet on my phone and beg forgiveness from the receptionist. This is when I found out that my appointment really was at 9:30—not 10. Evidently the front desk at my new ortho office is the nicest in the world because they gave me the correct address and told me that I could still come by to see the doctor. I already liked them better than my previous ortho practice.

Seriously, the front desk was great, the nurse was thorough and attentive, they updated me to let me know they were waiting for a fax from the imaging office so I wasn't wondering why it was taking so long to see the doctor. (Actually, I was prepared to wait all day what with their generosity in squeezing me in.) Also, the exam room in which they had put me had this numbered drawing of chipmunks on the wall:

Framed black and white drawing of three chipmunks.
It's like they knew I was coming.

Anywho, long story short, because of the type of tear I have, yadda, yadda, yadda, the doctor ended up recommending arthroscopic surgery, which I was assuming was orthroscopic surgery—you know, because it is done by an orthopedist—and just ten or so minutes ago discovered that it starts with an "a."

He said I didn't have to do it right away, but I am tired of not running and I figure the sooner I get it done, the sooner I can start relearning to run. Plus, I didn't want to get surgery in a couple or three months only to have to ease into running in the winter again, because that would be some buuuuuullshit.

My surgery is scheduled for just under four weeks from today, so you all should spend that time enjoying my lack of whining, because as soon as I'm hobbling around on crutches, I'm sure I will be the most annoying person in the history of the world. Also, crutches? I feel like they don't know how clumsy I am. This is likely to be a hilarious and embarrassing disaster of a recovery.

I actually feel okay about the whole thing. I'm glad it is something that can be fixed—or at least improved. If everything goes well, the recovery won't be too long and I'll be back on my feet soon.

Until then, I'm looking into upping my cycling and strength training. Although I gotta tell you, after not exercising for a month or so, my motivation is suffering. I gotta learn how to step up my non-running, non-eating activities.

Also, I would greatly appreciate not hearing about your arthroscopic surgery horror stories. Maybe after everything goes perfectly for me and I have a like-brand-new leg, we can talk about that, but until then, I mostly want to hear, "Gosh, that sounds fantastic; I think this is definitely the right decision and your recovery will be like butterflies and unicorns and you will be running at twice your normal speed within weeks."

That would be great, thanks.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Squirrel!

I suffered a deep disappointment this week.

I entered a Washington Post squirrel photography contest and I didn't win.

Wanna see my (winning) entry?

I mean, c'mon, right?
It's a squirrel! And it's eating a chocolate chip cookie! How does that not win?

You might remember this photo from a post I wrote several years ago about a trip to the Houston Zoo. Quinn tried to steal the cookie from the squirrel and it ran away. I submitted that information with the photo and still did not win.

Shameful.

Here's the stupid winning photo:

Okay, fine. It's pretty good.
And dammit, it's even cuter in color.

Who knew there were so many squirrel photography enthusiasts? I think I'm going to have to up my game for next year. And maybe purchase a better camera. And take a wildlife photography class. And tame a squirrel.

Watch out, award-winning photographers of small, amusing rodents, I'm coming for you.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

The MRI Pot of Gold at the End of the Knee Injury Rainbow

I have had a lot going on since last we spoke. We moved offices at work, my family went on vacation to Albuquerque, and Katie and I went on her band trip to New Orleans.

Okay, when I say it like that, it doesn't sound like a lot, but trust me when I say that each of those things involved a lot of moving pieces and emotional labor. I successfully navigated each of those, however, and have come out the other side. I hope to tell you more about each of them, but that's not why I've called you here today.

You know how I'm always blathering on and on about running and I suddenly fell radio silent on the topic about a month ago? Well, for the first time in my running career, I suffered an acute injury, wherein my knee decided  that NO, THIS AGGRESSION WILL NOT STAND! and halted me in the middle of a run, when I was three miles from my home.

That was a long limp home.

I've had a lot of chronic aches and pains that are probably attributable to running, but I have not yet had an experience where I was all, "Uh oh. Something happened." I spent about a week limping about DC and Maryland and not being able to do things like run for Metro trains or across streets so I finally decided to go see an orthopedist/orthopod.

Said orthopod was kind of a jerkhole and was pretty dismissive of me and my injury. I think that he saw a chubby woman who said she hurt herself running and he assumed that I had just done a little too much and had regular old soreness. He didn't actually seem to hear me when I told him that three miles is nothing to me and actively looked skeptical when I told him my weekly mileage.

*makes squinched up angry face*

By this point in my injury, I wasn't limping quite as obviously and my pain level was manageable, so I probably didn't look super injured when he had me walk back and forth across his office and then do the same on tip toes. Then he asked me to walk on my heels at which point my knee immediately buckled and my pain shot through the roof. I have it on good authority that what that doctor did was have me hyperextend my already injured knee, which is something an orthopedist that believes what his patient is telling him probably shouldn't/wouldn't do.

I'm mad at the orthopod. He didn't even fucking blink that he made that happen.

Anywho, that evening I could barely walk. I was in sobbing tears because I thought I'd reinjured or further injured my knee and that it was now in really bad shape. I couldn't move my leg at all without stabbing pain.

It was a problem.

For his part, the doctor told me to ice the knee and take four Advil each morning and evening for a week and if it still hurt then, I should go in for an MRI. He even held up two hands, each with four fingers extended so I understood what he meant by four in the morning and four in the evening.

I repeat: I did not much care for this doctor.

I couldn't go for an MRI after a week because I was traveling all over the United States, so when I got home this week, I reassessed. I hadn't run since my injury and I'd been taking Advil and icing the knee. I was significantly better. I wasn't limping anymore and I was no longer in constant pain.

But the side of the knee hurts and sometimes when I move it in a new way, there is a shot of pain. I decided to get the MRI just to make sure nothing was wrong. I figured I'd rather find out everything is just hunky dory in the knee than run on it, destroying it step by step.

Frankly. I'd like to have an MRI of both hips, both knees, and both ankles, but I don't think they let you just decide that you want that.

Anywho, I went today and I gotta tell you, the MRI was kind of delightful. I mean, prying my wedding ring off of my sausage finger was a bummer, but once I'd climbed that hill, all was well. For knee MRIs, you go in feet first, so it's not claustrophobic. It is loud, but they give you noise blocking headphones and, frankly, that kind of background noise is actually calming for me.

I closed my eyes and laid very still for 25 minutes with very little problem except for that forehead itch at minute 15. Also, I am a toe stimmer and tend to twitch my toes A LOT, so I had to actively not do that, but otherwise, I was completely happy. I didn't have to talk to anyone. I was ensconced in an auditory and physical safe zone, and I was able to close my eyes and not have to be alert and awake.

Although after seeing the machine, I do have to say that a head-first MRI seems pretty bad — and I'm not even claustrophobic.

Afterward, the tech asked me how it had been. I told her it was relaxing and she said, "I don't believe you." I guess I am not like the other people.

Me standing in an MRI dressing room wearing a long patient gown
Also, I got to wear this ingenious gown with three armholes. Brilliant!
But for the fact that it will be Jerkface McOrthopod who will give me my test results, I look forward to finding out what is on the MRI. Hopefully Dr. Von Dismissive was right and it is nothing but achiness.

Regardless, I'm hoping to get out on the road again this week. I haven't gone without running for this long in years. It will be interesting to see how it goes out there. And by "interesting," I mean "awful," but that's okay. I hope to be boring you with running selfie after running selfie soon.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Haiku Schmaiku

Something has been bothering me for three years.

When I go to work in downtown DC, I walk through an area of town known as "the Golden Triangle." Every spring the triangle people have a "Golden Haiku" poetry contest and publish the results on little placards that they jam into roadside gardens all over the area. I walk past eighty-six million of these little placards every morning and afternoon.

Now, I'm not big into poetry so we all know that this isn't my thing. We all know that I will resent being forced to read poetry on my way to work. We all know that I have some anger issues.

But it makes me Dennis from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia rageful that the word "haiku" is on those placards in three spots when the poems are not, for the love of all that it holy and just in this world, haikus.

Three lines. Five syllables. Seven syllables. Five syllables. Right?

Not according to the Golden Triangle Management Bureau.

always/one step ahead/sidewalk sparrow by Elizabeth Steinglass
I've wanted to write this post for three years, but haven't because it seems like an asshole move to put someone's poetry up on a blog and then scream at it. I actually like this poem, so I feel better screaming about the concept while still supporting the poet.

Now, in previous years I've been so agitated that I've gone to the website to look at the rules and they specifically state that the poetry doesn't have to follow that traditional haiku format. This year, probably because I'm not the only one ready to send angry letters about syllables, the website has a big quote at the top attributed to the Haiku Society of America that says: "Haiku...a short poem that uses imagistic language to convey an experience."

I'm not buying what you're selling, Haiku Society of America.

Maybe I'm overly literal. Maybe once my third grade teacher told me how many syllables are in a haiku, I shouldn't have locked on so solidly to that idea. Maybe I should just not look at the placards as I walk past them.

Or maybe I just need to finally write this post so the poison of this great injustice to my third grade soul can vent and be released.

haiku comes in threes
of five then seven then five
i feel better now

Friday, March 16, 2018

The Great Move Back


Hi! I finally moved all my posts and photos off of Wordpress and back to where they're accessible on Blogger. Now that that is done, I will be moving my URL this weekend so it points to that blog. All this means is that when you go to http://www.stimeyland.com/ from now, on, it will look a little bit different.

I will also be canceling my Feedblitz subscriber service and also will not be publishing through Wordpress, so if you subscribe through either of these two ways, you should resubscribe using this link.

If you are like me and would never in a million years remember how you subscribed to a blog, I've included screenshots. If you get emails that look like either of the below pictures when a new post goes up, you will need to resubscribe. 

Feedblitz

Wordpress
Also, I have a post planned for next Monday, which will be the first one solely on the new space, so check back if you subscribed but don't see it. (I don't think I have to create a new feed once I point the URL there, but I know virtually nothing about this shit, so I might have to.)

Let's see how this goes! Thanks for being a reader!

Friday, March 9, 2018

Evidence Suggests That I Don't Really Have My Shit Together

Hey, remember Dipshit Friday, when I do dumb things and then tell you about it in the hopes that if I laugh first, you all won't make fun of me? Well, it's back.

*****

I've got a lot going on these days.

There are several big projects at work that I am heavily involved in and a liiiiiiittle bit stressed out about. It's IEP season, with two meetings for two kids within four days of each other. I have two trips coming up—one with the whole family and one involving me being in charge of 12 teenagers I (mostly) don't know in New Orleans. Scheduling everything to work together is a complete nightmare. Plus Alex just got back from a week out of town, during which time I was forced to take over his 6 am waking-up-the-kids duties. Also, have I mentioned that I have three kids that need a lot of driving around and homework coaxing and organizing and feeding OMG WHY SO MUCH FEEDING DO YOU REALLY HAVE TO EAT THAT OFTEN LIKE SERIOUSLY MORE THAN ONCE A DAMN DAY?!?!

I am not...at my best.

I mean, I'm kicking the shit out of all of these things. I am T.C.B.—taking care of business like a goddamn boss, but it turns out that in areas of my life that are less crucial, I am faltering. Like, I am forgetting to do basic things.

I think I realized how all over the place and unfocused I was the day that I parked at the Metro station, went to work, and came back six hours later to find my car was still running.

I HAD LEFT MY CAR RUNNING UNATTENDED FOR SIX HOURS.

Think on that for a minute.

I distinctly remember that morning when I got out of my car and hit the lock button on the door, as I usually do, that something was wrong. The doors didn't lock. Naturally I assumed that the door lock must just be broken, so I got out, shut the door and locked the car from the outside. Then I walked away. Based upon later experimentation, it turns out that if the car is running, the door won't lock via the open door lock, perhaps to prevent people from, you know, leaving their cars on.

The funny thing is that my car dings when the key leaves it, so it must have spent all day sort of desperately flashing the warning THE KEY HAS LEFT THE VEHICLE THE KEY HAS LEFT THE VEHICLE THE KEY HAS LEFT THE VEHICLE while dinging sadly every three seconds.

I eventually came back, of course, and was all, "Why is the car already running?" I decided that I must have accidentally hit the remote start, which I didn't AND which is actually kinda impossible to do unintentionally. I figured this out when I got in the car and noticed three things:

1. The ignition was on full "run" instead of the remote start mode.
2. The car was very warm and had that "imminently overheated" smell to it.
3. A significant amount of gas from my previously full tank had disappeared.
 
Clearly this is a sign that I should employ some self care. Or drop some of my responsibilities. Or take a nap. I think I'll do that one.

P.S. This isn't the first time I've done something along these lines. During one high-stress time in my 20's I parked in the parking lot where I worked and went inside only to have a friend drive by hours later and come inside to tell me that I'd left my car door hanging open. I'd just forgotten to close it. So this isn't exactly a new development. I can't decide if that's a good or bad thing.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

"Highlights" of the "Flu"

I was sick the other day and spent about 24 hours either sleeping or trying not to throw up or throwing up. My crowning achievement of the day was when I picked up Jack from his after-school activity, drove a half block, stopped at a red light, opened my door, and puked out the side of my car until the light turned green.

It was a really effective way to freak Jack out.

I'm fine. I don't know exactly what it was. I thought it was the stomach flu, but since it was so well contained into one day, I am wondering if it was something else. Either way, I'm fine now and mention this mostly because in my late-night delirium, I thought I had a hilarious idea for a blog post called "Highlights of the Flu" and I wrote a list of things on my phone that were said highlights.

This list is incomprehensible. Also? Not all that hilarious.

The one amusing thing is that I took a giant barrel of pretzels upstairs to bed with me because all of our crackers were expired (hmmm, I wonder how I got sick). I put it on my bed and it made a noise and then Pickles the cat spent a good chunk of time rolling it back and forth, seeming to think I'd brought him the greatest new cat toy ever.

White cat sniffing a big jug of pretzels
We were operating at about the same level of comprehension at this point.
And there you have my Thursday. It was not a good day.